Jeep continues to mine the Grand Cherokee line-up for more gold with two new editions for 2017: the Trailhawk and the Summit.
Called the “most capable” Grand Cherokee ever produced, the new model is counterbalanced by the Summit, which may be the most comfortable and plush model ever manufactured by the brand that is thought of as more rough and tumble than warm and fuzzy.
“With our new Trailhawk and Summit models, Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes even more capable and more luxurious,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. Adding more options to the Grand Cherokee portfolio makes sense as sales of the model rose 7% in 2015.
“Our Cherokee and Renegade Trailhawk models are among our fastest selling and most sought-after models, and we are following that successful formula to provide consumers even more legendary Jeep 4×4 capability for Grand Cherokee – the most awarded SUV ever.
“Our new Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit is in direct response to consumers who continue to ask for even more luxury, craftsmanship and standard premium features in a full-size SUV packed with capability.”
The Trailhawk moniker has been kicking around the brand for several years and tagged the first Grand Cherokee with it in 2012 as a concept for the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. It has since been sprinkled across the Jeep line-up as the name for the model considered the most off-road ready in each model’s grouping.
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Grand Cherokee Trailhawk models are equipped with a host of standard off-road capability features, including Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (ELSD) for all powertrains, a unique version of Grand Cherokee’s Quadra-Lift air suspension – developed for Trailhawk – that offers improved articulation and total suspension travel, as well as Selec-Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control. Skid plates and a Trailhawk-specific anti-glare hood decal are also standard.
The new Trailhawk’s suspension is designed to improve its rock-climbing, off-roading capability with better clearance and improved breakover angles. The improved capability is matched by improvements to the sport-ute’s exterior, including a front fascia and seven-slot Jeep grille that debuted on the 2016 Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary edition.
It also gets the Trailhawk-signature red tow hooks in the front and rear, standard 18-inch or optional 20-inch Goodyear Adventure off-road tires with Kevlar reinforcement, new Trailhawk and Trail Rated badges with red accents, mirror caps and a roof rack with Neutral Gray accents, and optional Mopar rock rails for added protection.
Inside, Trailhawk models feature a unique black interior with leather and suede performance seats for comfort and control, red accent stitching, brushed Piano Black appliques, gun-metal finish on all painted interior parts, a Trailhawk badge on the Jeep steering wheel, and red accent stitching on the seats, doors and console. A standard 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen includes updated off-road pages showing wheel articulation and other vehicle 4×4 capability features, such as suspension height and 4×4 and Selec-Terrain modes.
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While the new Trailhawk is rough and ready, the new Summit rests comfortably in the posh and pampered section of the Grand Cherokee collection of vehicles: seven editions in all. The Summit’s mark is made with an interior that focuses on a mix of high-end materials and cutting edge technology.
A full-wrap Laguna leather interior in Indigo and Ski Gray is one of four color schemes offered for the Summit. The full leather interior boasts a Nappa leather-wrapped dashboard, center console and door panels, and Laguna leather seats with edge welting, according to Jeep.
All Summits come equipped with a suede premium headliner, lighted door sill, acoustic windshield and full side glass, Active Noise Cancellation, premium Berber carpet mats and a Harmon/Kardon 19-speaker, 825 watt amp audio system with three subwoofers.
Yes, it’s pretty and comfortable, it also features an impressive selection of new technologies, including auto-folding power mirrors, headlamp washers, Blind Spot Detection, Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and, for the first time, Lane Departure Warning and Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist.
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Above all else, it’s a Jeep so the brand’s Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with ELSD is standard on all Summit models, as is Grand Cherokee’s Quadra-Lift air suspension and Selec-Speed Control. The models hit dealerships this summer.